Artists 4 Israel will hold its first annual gala benefitting the Healing Arts Kits and people who are helping prevent PTSD in children in crises in Israel and around the world. The gala, set for Monday, December 4, will be at the Fifth Avenue Synagogue in Manhattan. It will begin with cocktails, a silent auction, and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30, and includes a program led by Craig Dershowitz, Artists 4 Israel’s executive director, and the opportunity to take home one-of-a-kind pieces of art and luxury items.
Bruce Robinson, Rena Grosser, and Hayeem Rudy will be honored for their contributions to the Healing Arts Kits, an emergency first aid kit designed to stop the onset of new cases of post-traumatic stress disorder in children living in crises situations. It was designed by a consortium of psychiatrists, therapists, artists, and emergency medical personnel in honor of the late Jef Campion, a 9/11 first responder, artist, and hero.
A fireman by day and artist by night, Mr. Campion ran into the World Trade Center three times on September 11. On his third mission, he recovered a man who was badly injured, brought him to safety, and noticed a young child staring at him. The child seemed physically uninjured, but the scarring and trauma was visible in his eyes. Mr. Campion met with a group from Artists 4 Israel who had been to Israel, painting bomb shelters on both Israel’s north and south borders for children running from Syrian and Hamas rockets. The artists were determined to create a product that would distract children in crisis, help stimulate healing, and begin the therapeutic process immediately.
This was the root of what became the Healing Arts Kits. The program is used in Israel’s schools, community centers, hospitals, and ambulances and is being sought in America, beginning with a pilot program in Chicago’s dangerous South Side. Vincent Santorella, a host committee member from Newark, is working to have kits distributed in Newark and Paterson as part of a Tikkun Olam-style program.
Mr. Campion survived 9/11 but died in 2014 as a result of the physical and emotional trauma he suffered then.